Commissioners debate ambulance services

Staff writer

After being outvoted 2-1 Nov. 27 to continue the ambulence department’s use of emergency medical dispatch (EMD) protocol, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke suggested a serious examination of county services.

“Our people out here can only stand so many taxes, and we’re getting less people every day in this county,” he said. “Somewhere, somebody’s going to have to cut something.”

EMS Director Steve Smith said the EMD helps dispatchers better inform respondents of what they need to know when they are heading to an emergency. Protocol can include a heads up that a patient is diabetic or needs CPR. Without it, respondents may have to stop in the midst of giving aid.

Dallke said he understood why the EMD was important, but questioned how much it was actually used. Commissioner Dan Holub called it a life-or-death decision.

“I’m willing to cut to save this position,” he said. “I think it’s critical, and I think it’s one of the good things we do for this county. At least we’re getting our tax dollars for something that really makes a difference to our citizens.”

Commissioners also discussed with Smith condensing ambulance service size because of a lack in volunteer services.

In other business:

  • Commissioners and auctioneer Lyle Leppke decided to spend $500 on advertisements for the auction of the former Holiday Motel in Florence.
  • Sheriff Rob Craft informed commissioners that his department registered the county for weather notification services from Nixle. Residents who sign up would receive alerts through text messages.
  • Commissioners voted to allow Union Pacific Railroad to install railway-highway crossing signals and flashing lights at the grade crossing point on Pawnee Rd. in Aulne. The grade crossing at 150th St. will close.
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